The Impact of Poor Quality on Cost

Every since the Toyota Production System (TPS) made Toyota famous for efficiency, there’s been a lot of talk about six sigma, lean, and TPS for a reason — because efficiency is good, and quality (which can be obtained when the systems are implemented properly, like they are in Asia, and not like Toyota chose to implement them in the US and Europe) is even better. But do you know how much better quality is?

More specifically, when you buy an inferior product, do you know how much this costs your organization? Chances are, poor quality products cost your organization three times as much as you think they do. In other words, for every dollar you spend on a poor quality product, your organization is losing three. An AMR study demonstrated that two thirds of poor supplier quality costs are non-material. For example, if there aren’t enough quality parts to keep the production line moving at 100%, this will incur additional overhead costs and labor costs in addition to return (processing) costs.

So what can you do to increase quality? According to this recent article in Industry Week on how managing hidden supplier quality challenges can save millions of dollars, which contained a case study on Graham Packaging, you start with BI. When you can find the quality-related problems with each supplier, determine which ones are a significant cost to the organization, and quickly get to the root of the issues, you can generate quick savings which, in Grahams case, amounted to millions of dollars a year.

And if you already have a modern, powerful, spend analysis system that allows you to build cubes (and reports) on any data set you please, you can crunch all of the performance related data in the corporate ERP system, create roll-up scorecard reports that capture all of the performance metrics, create comparison reports that indicate which performance metrics are below average and unacceptable, drill down to find the reasons, calculate the projected savings by improving the performance metric and, if the savings outweigh the costs associated with implementing any required improvements, take the reports to the supplier and start working on a fix to stop the leaks. It’s that easy.

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